LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Smoke free zones have been few and far between on casino floors in Las Vegas which has sparked fierce debate among people who'd like to relax and gamble without being hassled by smoke or non-smokers.
Non-smoker Marcus Stephens said it'd be nice if more casinos were smoke free so he didn't have to deal with the consequences of walking through hazy rooms to gamble.
"Last night I was cleaning my nose out like three or four times walking in," he said.
Stephens said he's regularly shocked walking onto gaming floors in Las Vegas because of where he's from: London.
"In England there's no smoking anymore so it's a big surprise when you go in," he said. "Quite a shock. You get all of the suppression of the smoke."
Other non-smokers, like Paul Ramirez, said it's a matter of personal preference and should be left to the individual to decide.
"You can't sit there and complain," he said, "because it's a free choice of option."
Ramirez said the unique opportunities afforded to players in Las Vegas come packaged with the ability to smoke.
"If you want to win money, want a couple drinks, you're taking that chance when you walk into a casino," he said.
A new study could bolster smoke-free advocates arguments.
A report from Las Vegas based C3 Gaming found casinos forced to go smoke free early in the coronavirus pandemic and then chose to remain smoke free when CDC guidance lifted, haven't experienced a large drop in gaming revenue as casino representatives have claimed for years.
The study also found some smoke-free casinos performed better than their smoker friendly counterparts.
The Culinary Worker's Union, representing hospitality staff in Southern Nevada, said in a statement they would support any move to protect workers including banning smoking on casino floors.
The Culinary Union has long been supportive of policies that protect workers, including if casinos ever went smokeless.
We welcomed news in September 2020 that MGM International Resorts’ Park MGM Las Vegas would be entirely smoke free and said at the time: “It's long overdue for an entirely smoke-free casino in Las Vegas, and the Culinary Union is completely supportive.”
The Culinary Union will poll hospitality workers in the near future to see how members feel about the issue.
KTNV reached out to major casino operators in Las Vegas about the study, and representatives either didn't respond, said they hadn't reviewed the report, or said there were no plans to change current operating policy.